ASVEL rallies to sink Baskonia
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne used a strong defensive third-quarter performance to rally from a double-digit halftime deficit before holding off visiting TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 83-77 on Wednesday night at the Astroballe. The win improved ASVEL's record to 8-14, one behind Baskonia which dropped to 9-13 on the season. The visitors controlled things in the first half, opening up a 20-34 lead early in the second quarter, and holding a 35-46 lead at halftime. But Norris Cole got ASVEL going in the third quarter, during which the hosts allowed only 7 points. Matthew Strazel and David Lighty kept making big shots to help ASVEL go in front and take a double-digit lead as Baskonia never came close enough the rest of the way. Lighty finished with 21 points and Cole scored 20, while William Howard added 10 points in the winning effort. Alec Peters paced Baskonia with 15 points, Rokas Giedraitis had 13 points, Youssoupha Fall scored all of his 11 points in the first 8 minutes and Achille Polonara also scored 11 in a defeat.
Cole and Lighty hit jumpers early for ASVEL, but Youssoupha Fall got to work on the other end, getting it going with a three-point play and a layup and a big dunk. Triples from Peters and Luca Vildoza made it 8-13 before Giedratis scored 5 points, including a three-pointer to open a 10-20 lead. ASVEL stopped the bleeding by getting to the free-throw line. Strazel knocked down a three-pointer late in the first quarter and Amine Noua hit one at the start of the second to cut the deficit to 20-26. Baskonia answered by scoring 8 straight points - a run that included three-point plays from Tonye Jekiri and Pierria Henry to make it 20-34. ASVEL got back in it behind Kevarrius Heyes, who scored twice and had a big block on the defensive end, but Baskonia used its fastbreaks well, with Vildoza going coast-to-coast and Peters nailing a transition corner triple to make it 30-42. Howard answered with a three of his own, but the visitors kept the margin in double figures and took a 35-46 into halftime.
Every basket in the first 6 minutes of the third quarter was a three-pointer. Cole hit first from the right corner and Peters replied for the visitors before Cole hit another and Antoine Diot knocked one of his own to make it 44-49. Strazel and Ismael Bako connected on an alley-oop dunk before a three from Charles Kahudi tied it at 51-51. Cole drove to the hoop to put the hosts in front before Vildoza's long jumper ended Baskonia's drought of 7 minutes without a field goal. A jumper by Strazel made it 58-53 going into the fourth quarter. Strazel stayed hot hitting another long jumper before Noua's second-chance three-pointer put 65-56 on the scoreboard. Peters beat the shot-clock with a much-needed jumper, but Lighty strung together 9 points, including a three-pointer, extending the margin to 74-62 midway through the fourth quarter. Polonara gave Baskonia hope with a three-pointer, and Peters scored in the low post in a 0-7 run, but Cole hit back-to-back top-of-the-key jumpers to get the lead back to 78-69. Another three-pointer from Polonara helped cut the deficit some more and Henry made it 81-77, but yet another jumper, this one from Lighty with 20 seconds left, sealed the outcome.
Alec Peters hit a triple with 8:17 to go in the third quarter to make it 38-49, but after that ASVEL allowed only 4 more points in that quarter and only 1 field goal over more than 11 minutes bridging the third and fourth quarters, turning it into 65-56 lead.
ASVEL made 9 of 21 triples, but the team had seven different players knock down at least 1 three-pointer and ASVEL players also knocked down 10 more jumpers from outside of the paint.
Baskonia top scorer Rokas Giedraitis came off the bench for the first time this season after starting in the first 21 games. However, once he entered the game after 5:07 in the first quarter, Giedraitis spent all but 53 seconds on the floor the rest of the way, finishing with 13 points.
Collision of Falls
Baskonia center Youssoupha Fall had a strong start to the game, scoring 11 points early to help his team build a double-digit lead while going against ASVEL big man Moustapha Fall. But the 2.21-meter Youssoupha did not score another point the rest of the way, finishing with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block. He did outplay the 2.18-meter Moustapha who had 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block, but it was Moustapha and ASVEL that got the victory in the end.
Both teams will be in action again on Friday in Round 23. ASVEL will travel to face Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, while Baskonia will be at home against Zalgiris Kaunas.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021